The Edward Brown House at 27 High Street is recorded as having been built in 1650, making it one of the oldest houses in New England. The asymmetrical arrangement of the windows and the location of the chimney suggest that the first modest section of the house was on the left, and that it has been greatly expanded and remodeled over the years.
Edward Brown was the original owner of this site in 1639, and a portion of the present house may date from the period of his ownership (c. 1650). The oldest part of the house is the east side, which began as a one-room over-one-room floor plan. The summer beam and chimney girt of the main east room have simple chamfers. In the mid-18th century the west side of the house was built, completing the common central chimney, two-over-two configuration. Later a rear leanto was added. Most of the present trim dates to the 18th century and early 19th century. The significant architectural features of this house are protected by a Preservation Agreement between the owners and the Ipswich Historical Cornmission.
Edward Brown came to Ipswich with the original settlers and married Faith Lord. Although he served as a Marshal of Ipswich, he and several other men were brought to court because their wives were seen wearing finery above their station. Puritan law required one to prove 200 pounds in savings to justify such extravagances. He made his will on 9 Feb, 1659 to his wife, Faith; sons Thomas, Joseph and John; and daughters, but no names mentioned, and his brother Bartholomew of whom he purchased the land on which this house sits. View MACRIS.
Thomas Franklin Waters wrote about the Edward Brown house in his book, Ipswich in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Volume I:
IPSWICH IN THE MASSACHUSETTS BAY COLONY
“The Edward Brown lot of one acre (was) southeast from Bradstreet. He had a son John, who resided in Wapping, England, in 1683, when he sold land in the common fields left by his father Edward, (Ips. Deeds 4: 533). The widow Sarah Caldwell’s deed to Dillingham gives the eastern bound “land formerly Joseph Brown’s.” From the Probate Records, we learn that Joseph Brown died before 1694, and that his estate was divided to his sons, John and Benjamin (Pro. Rec. 313: 559, .560), in 1721.
John Brown, Turner, granted in his will, proved in 1758, to Elizabeth, his wife, “all the household goods she brought to me, and all the linen she hath made since I married her to be at her Disposal;” to his son John, the improvement of the two lower rooms and the northeast chamber and some real estate; to his daughter Esther Adams, and the children of his daughter Mary Lord, the household goods; and all the residue of real estate to his son Daniel (Pro. Rec. 335: 229). The house, barn and land were valued at £60 (Pro. Rec. 336: 17).
Daniel Brown bequeathed the improvement of his property to his widow Hannah, during her life or until her second marriage. He made his nephew, Daniel Smith, his sole heir. The will was approved, Jan. 4, 1796 (Pro. Rec. 364: 232). Daniel Smith’s will, proved in 1844, provided for the division of his estate among his sons, Daniel Brown Smith, Thomas and Benjamin, and the Probate Record contains this interesting item:
‘Daniel Smith was a Revolutionary pensioner, that he died on the 28th day of January, 1844, that he left no widow, and that he left seven children and no more, viz. Daniel B., Thomas, Benjamin, Polly Lord, Elizabeth Treadwell, Sarah Perkins, & Anna Kimball, and that they all of them are living and each of them is of full age” (Pro. Rec. 412: 315, 310).’
Thomas received the homestead, and occupied it until his death at a great age, when he bequeathed it to his nephew Charles Smith, who removed the old buildings and built his present residence in the rear of the site of the homestead. Daniel B. received a part of the house-lot and built a house upon it, which he sold to his son, Nathaniel P. Smith, March 1, 1866 (707: 16).